Over the past thirty years or so, there have been a few high profile men of God who have fallen hard. And when the likes of Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and Ted Haggard had their very public scandals, many secularists nattered with the glee.
You also have some very outspoken ministers (who are disdainfully called “the religious right”) like Pat Robertson, John Hagee and Dr. James Dobson, who regularly draw the ire and vitriol of the political left.
But regardless of people’s faiths (or lack thereof), one man of God has held iconic status for nearly sixty years: The Rev. Billy Graham.
Ever since 1950, when he urged Harry Truman to counter communism in North Korea, Graham has had a personal audience with every sitting President of the United States. To that end, Graham never seemed to be loyal to one particular political party, even though he was a registered Democrat in the 60s. Despite that, he supported Richard Nixon in his Presidential bid against John F. Kennedy in 1960 and was a long time friend of Ronald Reagan. In the 70s, he refused to align himself with the religious right because he felt Jesus did not have a political party. In Rev. Graham's mind, the gospel superseded any party affiliation.
To me, the most impressive attribute is Graham's genuine humility. Raised on a dairy farm in North Carolina, he has often marvelled at how God used a mere farm boy like himself to spread the gospel worldwide. And despite visiting scores of foreign countries, holding more than forty crusades and earning the admiration and respect of eleven U.S. Presidents, at the end of the day Graham still went home to a modest cabin in rural North Carolina.
And today, Rev. Graham celebrates 90 years on this planet. And for more two-thirds of that life, he has faithfully served the Lord by impacting literally millions of people across this planet.
Luke 12:48 says that to whom much is given, much shall be required. Billy Graham humbly admits he has been blessed exceedingly, abundantly above what he could ever think or ask. As such, he has tirelessly dedicated his life conveying that very message.
Happy 90th, dear sir.